With Halloween postponed until this Friday, I thought I would get us in the mood (again) with a ghost story. As I have mentioned previously, my house is 300 years old (1710) and with that comes a certain understanding of lingering spirits, unfinished business, and stories to be told. My plan was simple; renovate the house to make it mine and ghosts be darned. What I found is the more things changed, the more they stayed the same. Now, let me say, the house NEEDED to be renovated. It was structurally unsound and had undergone several major renovations that changed the look of the home from its original incarnation. Additionally, the house had been in an unlivable state for 14 years.
Upon purchasing the home in 2009, I was set upon changing the front of the house to that of a nine window front colonial. I was obsessed with this. I could picture it and was often doing a double take at my arrival to the house when reality showed me it had two bay windows and a porch that imposingly stretched across the 38 foot front. Upon removal of the porch, windows and the whole of the front siding, I soon realized that it was a nine window front colonial originally. The post and beam structure now exposed, displayed its scars in the form of notched studs that not only confirmed the window layout but that the windows I had chosen were nearly identical in width to what was previously used. Similar too was the back door, which I moved to the center of the kitchen from the far end. I later discovered the door had existed just to the right of where I now positioned it. Even more eerie, was the discovery of a window buried in exactly the spot I had cut open to place it.
The walls talked to my inquiries as well. Every time a question of a purpose of a room, or its previous occupants, fate introduced to me someone who knew the answers. I was drawing up plans and arranging the financing of this house for 6 months and had bored my co-workers to tears with minute details of my endeavor. One day my boss turned to me and asked if the home is on the left side of the road. “Yes”, I replied. ”A big barn in the back?” “Yes”, I again replied. “That was my mother-in-law’s house 50 years ago.” “It was a goat farm.” He added. This made sense. My electrician knew the last woman who lived there. Two days after he told me that, the woman’s brother showed up to fill in more missing pieces of the puzzle. An old timer pulled into the driveway one day and answered an obscure question about the lay of the land and added to the timeline of previous owners.
Ok, you want the really scary stuff don’t you? Well, there really isn’t that much. The day I closed on the property, the previous owner and I went to the house after signing papers. He walked in the door and immediately found a picture of one of the previous owners and they were sitting in a chair in a room with wallpaper that was still visible in the house. He immediately asked me where I found this picture. I hadn’t seen it until he picked it up. He said “I have owned this house for 8 years and never saw this picture before” we just looked at each other. As I was insulating the living room one day, I cut a piece of fiberglass insulation to hang and went to staple into place. I turned around to see the roll unfurl itself from a rest against several pieces of drywall and didn’t stop until it had unrolled completely almost 20 feet across the room. One night in my newly drywalled bedroom, I awoke from sleeping and saw a shadow come out of the wall where a door once existed and walk across the room and as it passed by one of the night lights, the light flickered, went out and then came back on after the shadow had passed by. Had it not been for that one detail, I would have believed I was imagining the whole thing.
I am not the only one who seems to have noticed things. My house cat, Emily appears to have a penchant for staring at empty walls for no reason and then running like mad. The poor girl will only cross the upstairs landing to the railing side and scurries across often looking behind her as she does. Paranormal investigators approached me about spending some time in my house, after they did their investigation; Emily was jumpy for two weeks.
CRIPT- Connecticut Research in Paranormal left a leaflet on my door one day. I responded to them and they brought a clairvoyant and some electronic equipment to the house. Immediately, they focused on the stairway the top of which is where the cat scurries across. They deemed it a hotspot for paranormal activity. Thinking about it, I realized that this is where I often had premonitions about the house sometimes picturing it in a finished state or dressed for the holidays. In the end, they have reason to believe that 8 ghosts inhabit my home.
There are many instances that give pause. Clocks with physical hands change time but then return to the correct time. This seems to happen mostly in the winter months. Items in specific places go missing only to be found hours or days later in that very spot. For the skeptics, I understand your disbelief. I too am skeptical of things that could be explained and often dismiss anomalies such as strange noises or reflections of light. Older homes have a propensity for this with wavy leaded glass panes that bounce light and settling that causes one-off noises. If you were to live in an environment that made you question your own senses, you might be inclined (as I often do) to find justifications that are less provocative to your imagination. There is no doubt we have attachments to our living spaces.
We live, laugh, and love in our homes. Some homes have deeper attachments than others and I share that. I am constantly reminded that my home has seen more and been loved by more than most homes. I find this comforting and endearing, not scary.